Welcome to Teaser Tuesday where I share snippets from new and past releases, and works-in-progress, and sometimes twist the arms of author buddies to do the same.
I’m thrilled to say that today is one of those days, and even more thrilled to announce that our guest is Helene Young!
Romantic suspense fans will be very familiar with Helene’s work. She’s a multiple award winner, including winning the Romance Writers of Australia prestigious Romantic Book of the Year award (the Ruby) not once but twice, and winning the Australian Romance Readers Association Favourite Romantic Suspense award multiple times.
Photography and sailing fans will know Helene from her adventures aboard her catamaran the Roo Bin Esque. If that isn’t enough, Helene has also had a long career as a pilot.
I know, I know, TOTAL overachiever, but we love her anyway cos she’s awesome.
Best of all Helene has a new book coming out. Return to Roseglen releases 2nd July, 2018 and it looks brilliant. One read of this excerpt and you’ll be click-swipe-tapping your fingers like crazy pre-ordering a copy.
Because we’re the blog with the most-est, there may also be a chance to win a Return to Roseglen paperback. So give a big welcome to Helene, and read on.
Cathryn, it’s lovely to be visiting your blog again and thanks for the opportunity to share a sneak peek inside the covers of Return to Roseglen. It’s a story that’s been 3 years in the writing and I think the issues of elder abuse and the ‘sandwich’ generation of women who juggle careers, children, parents, menopause and mid-life melt downs have never been more important!
This excerpt is the opening chapter where we meet fiercely independent Ivy Dunmore, who at 93, is battling to remain at home on her sprawling cattle property in North Queensland. Growing old is the least of her problems as she realises jealousy and greed are tearing her family apart. She’s always known that the truth would come out in the end, but that doesn’t make it any easier to tell.
Ivy’s hand trembled as she drew the brush over her lips, in danger of smudging the bright colour. Who would have thought at ninety-three she’d feel the need for war paint to stare down her son? Her Aunt Leonie always maintained that the devil caught most souls in a golden net. After last night’s conversation with Ken she finally understood what her aunt meant.
‘They’re going to foreclose on me,’ her son had said. ‘There’s only one option, one way to save both properties. You’ll need to sign them. No one needs to know.’
Her whole body had gone rigid. How could this be? But, in her heart, she’d seen it coming.
She pressed her lips together, smoothing the lipstick, then tilted her head to find a clear reflection in the mirror. The silver backing had starting to fall away around the edges. Another repair that would never be done now.
She peered at the face in the mirror. ‘Hello, Ivy Dunmore,’ she murmured, feeling like she was meeting an old friend for the first time in years. Wispy white hair was brushed back from a high forehead, the pale skin surprisingly unlined despite the years in the sun. Those summer blue eyes had paled to a frosty winter hue, framed by gold-rimmed glasses. There were creases in the cheeks, lines carved around the eyes – from laughter, she told herself – eyelashes that clump together, short and sparse. No point in batting them at a good-looking young digger anymore.
She tried a smile and examined her teeth. At least they were all her own, even if they wouldn’t be advertising toothpaste any time soon. She caught a glimpse of a feisty girl with her skirts flying as she whirled around the old Methodist Hall, bright eyes sliding towards the tall rangy cattleman who, dressed in his army uniform, lounged against the doorframe.
Wex and Lady interrupted the memory, their barks as creaky as her joints. The kelpies were the only survivors of the pack that helped Charlie rule sprawling Roseglen with benevolent care.
At the sound of a car speeding up the dusty track to the homestead Ivy sat taller on her wheeled walker. She looked to the faded photo of her husband beside their bed. Charlie’s battered felt hat was tilted back, his laughing eyes framed by a deep web of lines. There was strength in the chords of his neck and muscles of his shoulders. Behind him was Roseglen’s whitewashed chapel with the family graveyard and beyond that the ridgeline with the silhouette of towering gums. He was seventy that year, a man still vigorous and alive. That was the way he’d always be in her memory.
Hurried footsteps sounded up the stairs and across the verandah. She heard the front door swing open.
‘Mum? Mum? Where are you?’ Ken called.
No rush. I’m still alive, dear. She bit back the retort. Even at sixty-three he could be so needy.
‘I’m here, son. I’ll be out in a moment.’
‘Right.’ Ken stopped outside the door. ‘I’ve got the papers.’
Well, of course you’ve got the papers. Why else would you be here? She swallowed a laugh and hiccupped. ‘Put the kettle on, there’s a dear,’ she said, hoping her voice sounded bright.
‘I’m on a tight schedule, Mum.’
‘Yes, I know, but there’s time for a cuppa. I’ll just be a moment.’
His heels thudded on the hall runner as he strode back across to the kitchen. Why could he not remember to take his boots off outside? The drought had sucked the moisture from the dirt in the front yard and he’d be leaving a trail of dust behind him on the old Persian carpet.
She sighed and glanced around the room, taking comfort from the pressed metal ceilings, the painting of the homestead surrounded by lush pastures and sleek cattle, and the solid oak furniture, gleaming with beeswax.
It had been her home for sixty years, ever since they moved from the tiny manager’s cottage to care for Old Mrs Dunmore. She loved every plank, every French door, every polished floorboard. The memories were as thick and rich as the chocolate topping she used to make for Charlie’s favourite pudding. She fingered a linen and lace doily on the dressing table. One wet season, when Lissie was just a toddler and the road was cut by floodwaters for a month, she’d grown bored with baking. That had resulted in a collection of doilies and tablecloths. Not too shabby an effort if she said so herself.
Sinbad, her Siamese, lounged on the handmade patchwork quilt, his gaze unwavering.
‘Yes, lovely boy. You stay here.’ The tip of his tail flicked. Ken had no love for cats.
In the kitchen the kettle screamed. Ivy could picture Ken on his phone, trying to ignore it. If he wasn’t poking at the screen, then he was talking, like a disembodied head holding a conversation with a ghost. Bluetooth, he’d told her one day when she’d chipped him about it. Sounds like a reason to visit the dentist, she’d retorted.
The whistle shut off abruptly.
‘Mum!’ He was imperious this time.
All right, all right. I’m not one of the dogs rounding up cattle. She’d a mind to make him wait, but instead she stood and turned, straightened the skirt of her favourite blue dress, the fabric rippling over her legs, then gripped the handles of her walker and released the brakes. Let’s get this over and done with, Ivy Dunmore.
Doesn’t that sound fab? I adore this line: “Bluetooth, he’d told her one day when she’d chipped him about it. Sounds like a reason to visit the dentist, she’d retorted.” Made me laugh out loud and I suspect Ivy will give us plenty more of those in Return to Roseglen.
Return to Roseglen releases 2nd July 2018. Order your copy today from:
Now, as mentioned in the introduction, we have a…
Ivy Dunmore is a demon Scrabble player who at 93 still likes to reign supreme. ‘No such thing as a free ride in this family,’ she tells her children. What board games do you and your family play? Do you have a favourite? One you played growing up perhaps?
Share in the comments and you’ll go into a draw to win a paperback copy of Return to Roseglen.
Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday, Australian Eastern Time, 22nd June 2018. Australian postal addresses only.
Ooooh, so many board games to choose from. We played a lot of cards too (I was a crafty canasta player and there was another we called ‘spit’ which was sort of like snap but more violent), however I used to love Chinese Checkers when I was little – it was the coloured marbles I think – then when I was older we had some epic Monopoly battles. That game is the best.
What’s your favourite family board game? Or, if you didn’t play board games, what other game kept you amused? Reveal all and we’ll pop you into the draw for a copy of Return to Roseglen.
If you’d like to learn more about Helene and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using @HeleneYoung.
Join in the conversation as Jaye Ford interviews three of Australia’s favourite authors of stories for women
When: Saturday, 14 July, 1.30pm
Where: Cardiff Library, Cardiff Marketplace, Cnr Main and Macquarie Road, Cardiff NSW 2285
Be enthralled by Helene Young, Christine Wells and Cathryn Hein, as they discuss their writing careers, writing stories that resonate with their female audience and the inspiration behind their latest books; Return to Roseglen, The Juliet Code, and The Country Girl.
Books will be available for purchase and signing. Bookings are essential. To find out more call Cardiff Library on 4921 0775 or book online here.
Writing Popular Fiction That Sells Workshop
With over thirty published novels in romance, historical fiction, mystery, suspense and women’s fiction, Helene, Christine and Cathryn know what it takes to write a cracking yarn that publishers will buy and readers will love.
When: Saturday, 14 July, 9.00 am – 12.00 pm
Where: Toronto Library, Brighton Ave & Pemell Street, Toronto, NSW 2283
In this workshop, you will learn how to get ideas and turn them into a working premise for a novel, how to write characters who leap off the page, and how to sell or self-publish your story once it’s finished.
Perfect for beginners and experienced writers alike, this fun, interactive workshop will both inform and inspire.
Bookings essential. For further information contract Toronto Library on 49210641 or secure your spot today here.